Multi legged insect table

“Form follows function” was coined by an architect in the late 1800s. From a design perspective that makes a lot of sense. Design presupposes a problem and then tries to solve it. But when inspiration strikes first, before there even is a problem to solve, then ‘form’ becomes primary. The problem solving is then to fit that form considering material laws, and to give it some functional use, if it is not be pure visual fine art.

Insect table wooden

In this small table, form was the beginning point. What needs to sustain that form came secondary. It started with me wondering what if a table has many legs? Just liek an insect. Initial problems was getting them at angles not same but in a good organic flow, like an insect might have. All these legs needed to touch the ground to spread the pressure equally. But still it felt like it needed more ‘design’.

These are some tweaks that have been introduced to make it sturdier. While inserting the legs it was apparent that the most amount of stress was at the point where the legs just came out of the plank, below the top surface. Brass pins have been inserted about half an inch more than the thickness of the table plank surface. This takes care of that issue. Another issue was that the leg was only attached at one end. Rest of it free to move in any direction. Combined with the fact that each leg is not very strong in itself, it needed at least a few constraints on movement. When I looked at my charpai weave, it gave me this idea of adding strings as struts. First form which came into mind was a flat surface weave parallel to the upper surface of the table. This then could be used to put things like magazines or books. But what if folks keep on piling stuff, like I personally do. The factor of safety on this table is pretty small, and I did not want that added risk. This criss cross weave gives two extra points of support for each leg. I have used cotton string dipped in black acrylic paint. This is not perfect as I have discovered it stretches loose with time. Would you know of a better alternative to this? Do let me know.
Multi legged insect table

Brass inserts into legs - multilegged insect table

But given all its constraints I can sit on it and feel it can even take a 100kg person. When someone twists around sitting on it or drags it with something heavy over it, then a leg may break. I have done a few tests myself including a headstand on this, and it didn’t protest at all.

Usually I make anything wooden with a factor of safety similar to the mumbai local trains. Some of the other stools are so strong a baby elephant could do a headstand and it wouldn’t creak. Since this table is experimental it is sure that if not used very carefully the legs will start breaking. With so many legs it can still be used, just like an insect can go with missing legs. I plan to list it with this added feature: when the buyer gets tired of the broken legs they can send it back and I will give this table a makeover with regular thicker and fewer (3 or 4) legs.

2 thoughts on “Multi legged insect table”

  1. Quite interesting!
    I love the detailing with cotton string. Probably some sort of macrame knotting might reduce the risk of the string getting loose with time.

  2. Thanks for the knotting suggestion. Keeping it all in one flow helps tighten the string to distribute all the stress. I wonder if knotting will prevent this stress-spread. Definitely will try.

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